The #NRA, in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre of children and elementary school teachers and staff, has its friends out in full force. One thing I’ve heard in several media interviews now is “proud gun owner.” This is NRA boilerplate. I bought insoles for my daughter’s skates this morning. I own them, technically. That makes me, I guess a Proud Oder Eaters Owner. Ditto my minivan. My minivan, while aging and dented, is quite valiant in its provision of transportation services. Am I then, a Proud Minivan Owner?
Guns are highly engineered, precision instruments. Their purpose aside, they are often quite beautiful. The engineers and manufacturers can rightly take pride in their work, as do the engineers and builders of, say, of the Audi Q7, a vehicle in the same general classification if much nicer than my minivan. But owners of the Audi Q7 have no reason to be proud of their Audi Q7s – beyond, maybe, the economic achievements underpinning the purchase or lease of such fine German wheels.
But guns, save collectibles and historically significant examples, are cheap. Gun ownership is no more a basis for self esteem than TV ownership. I am a Proud Toaster Oven Owner, you might as well say. A Proud Shoe Owner. Congratufuckinglations.
Maybe Proud Gun Owners are proud because of their ability to point and fire their guns. But this is not a complex skill, at least at its most basic level. Shooting free throws is more involved.
Proud Gun Owner is a stupid term. If gun owners are looking for a modifier, and assuming they reflect the general population, more than 30 percent of them could accurately call themselves Fat Gun Owners. Something less than 50 percent could call themselves Romney-Voting Gun Owners. Next time you hear “Proud Gun Owner,” go ahead and substitute “Bullshit-Parroting Gun Owner.”
As an aside, to understand now the NRA has twisted the Second Amendment beyond recognition, thereby enabling multiple massacres by Proud Gun Owners (or, in the case of the Connecticut tragedy, the Son of a Proud Gun Owner), check out Jill Lepore’s fine New Yorker piece of April 2012. May our federal and state leaders have the courage to face this proudly armed special interest and its deep-pocketed backers down. This is an important moment. Lend your voice in support. Our safety — our children’s safety — depends on it.